Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Smell Only A Mother Could Love

Y’all know I’m a sucker for studies, and for me, the stranger the better. Yesterday I found an article written in July of this year for HealthCare News. I don’t think I could find a study any stranger than this one but I promise I will keep looking.

This article states that science may have confirmed that when a woman smells her   baby’s farts, large areas of her brain activate and this stimulates happy feelings. Fascinating. They haven’t had the chance to study the effects on fathers and I’m certainly not surprised about that.

While we are all running on a hundred forms of fear about the welfare of the nation, the department of pediatrics at Benton College of Medicine in Henderson, NV, is hard at work to unravel the chemistry of baby farts and the mother-child farting relationship.

I’m a skeptic at heart so I decided to conduct my own study.  I was curious to see if this cosmic fart bond is still present even after the child has grown up.  I asked my mother-in-law to help with my study and she naively agreed. 

I asked her to sit in her favorite recliner and get comfortable. I wasn’t able to get an electroencephalograph from the local Rite Aid, so I fashioned a rudimentary EEG by connecting wires to large metal washers that I placed on her scalp with low adhesive craft glue. The residue left in her hair should wash out after a few months.

I connected the wires to a family heirloom, a vintage Hickok Model 533A Dynamic Mutual Conductance Tube Tester and set it up on the TV tray next to her. I was able to get definite brain wave readings. It took a few minutes to get the short light to go off and I was guessing as to where to set the BIAS and the Filament knobs, but it looked like it would serve its purpose.

While she was settling in, I asked my husband to come into the room.  I thought it best not to tell him the nature of my study. His jaw dropped when he saw his mother all wired up. “What the hell? Is that a bomb on her?” He appeared to be a bit angry. 

I assured him that she was fine and that I had done my homework and from a medical standpoint knew exactly what I was doing. I skimmed over the technical explanations to ease his mind and picked up my clipboard. 

“It looks as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle.”
I ignored his comment, looked up at him and smiled.
He frowned that all too familiar way with the big vertical crease down his forehead.
“Go ahead,” I said with a hand on my hip. “Fart.”
“You want me to…”
“Yep, that thing you do everyday. In the car, in the supermarket, on the couch and especially in bed, and you know how I hate that. Now I’m giving you permission. “Fart.”
“Why? ”
“I want your mother to smell it.”
I don’t ever remember seeing that expression on his face before.
“It’s okay sweetheart,” Mom said. “It’s a noble cause, it’s for science.”
“I can’t fart on command,” he said a little louder than he needed to which brought his brother into the room.
“What’s all this?”
My husband shook his head and pointed at me. “She wants me to fart for science.”
His brother looked at mom, gave me a strange look then burst out in laughter.
I turned to my husband. “I want you to fart for your mother.”
“I can do that,” his brother said.  I believe it was the sibling double dog dare ‘ya glare that challenged my husband and in the next moment I heard from both of their posterior cheering sections.

“Oh my God!  You’ve ruined my experiment!” I quickly backed away holding my nose.  “She will never be able to segregate samples from both of you!”

I waited a full twenty minutes before re-entering the room. I’m not sure how the recliner fell over or how the tube tester wound up on her back. My husband and his brother were trying to help her up while laughing hysterically.

“Mom, are you okay?” I asked. “How do you feel? Do you feel happy?” I checked the meter on the tester and the needle was flat pinned to the green side which  measured 15K of something which seemed good.  “This machine is definitely registering quite a bit of brain activity so I really need to know if you were comforted by the smell of your son’s farts.”

The last thing I remember is mom running toward me holding the tube tester up over her head.  The rest is a blur.


  1. Farting for science. And to think I was thrown out of a high school biology class for this. Great post.

  2. The study was a hoax, Onion-style article. It's only been published on blogs, not from any major news sources. You'll notice 'pediatrician' and 'pediatrics' have both been misspelled in the article as 'pediatricks/ian.' In addition, the college and hospital referenced do not exist and the article writer's name is 'Gunkerton.'

  3. Just For Laughs is just for laughs.